I would like to welcome everyone back to another edition of Inside OSUIT. We have a little bit different look today because we are in the midst of COVID-19 and we do have a mask requirement on campus in all public spaces.
I want to continue the theme that we’ve been talking about to introduce you to some of the fascinating people that we have on this campus that do such a good job of keeping this institution moving along.
Today my focus is purchasing. I would like to introduce you to the director of purchasing, Jalynda Bailey.
Jalynda, thank you for joining me today.
“Thank you, it’s nice to be here.”
I’m delighted to have you here and I want to learn about purchasing. Some of the people watching maybe have never thought about the institution having a purchasing director. First off, can you tell me what does your job entail?
“Purchasing is the procurement of goods and services that are necessary for the university to operate and fulfill its mission. We help source items like office supplies, furniture, vehicles, textbooks and everything else you can imagine.”
So, everything that faculty, students and staff come in contact with on this campus, you touch at some point in the purchasing process?
“That is correct.”
I understand you also track purchases from the time that items are purchased to all the end when they are disposed. Talk to me about the life of a product on campus.
“So yes, we do handle the lifespan of products and services that we utilize here on campus, we do that through inventory management system. So, we touch everything as soon as it comes through from that initial purchase to the disposal and replacement.”
How does someone become a purchasing director? You’ve worn lots of hats since you have been here. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.
“Yes. I started here in 2011in the Bursar’s office as a cashier. I was there for several years before I was able to obtain the position of financial analyst in Fiscal Services and Purchasing. I handled the inventory management and travel for the campus for about 5 years. I left for a year, I had an opportunity at a private firm in Tulsa, but when the Purchasing Director position opened up in 2019 it was too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I interviewed and here I am.”
Many of us were delighted to see you come back to OSUIT, by the way, we’re really glad to have you back with us.
This has been an unusual year; I think you would agree with me on that.
We were moving along quite well with our Spring semester, and then COVID-19 hit and changed everything on this campus. We had to send students away, faculty away, most of our employees had to go into quarantine There were still a core of people, including yourself, that stayed on campus to make sure that things continued. While we were learning how to teach online, we also had to learn how to purchase some pretty difficult items on campus. Can you tell me about that process and how difficult it was to find certain PPE items?
“Yes, the demand for PPE has been crazy-high all over the nation. It’s been really difficult to source those items that we needed to operate safely like face masks and hand sanitizer, just because the demands have been so high. And then, when you can place orders, the timeframe in getting it is super delayed because everything is backed up. So, it has been a challenge, but we have been blessed in being able to get the items we need to operate safely.”
I know there were certain cleaners that would kill the virus, there were certain hand sanitizing stations we had to acquire and as you pointed out, just the face masks and things like that, thermometers, these were extremely difficult to purchase. At one point in time, at the end of May and first part of June, we didn’t even know if we were going to be able to start the summer term back because some of the things we need were on back order. That had to be pretty stressful for you. Can you describe what was happening at that time?
“Yes. We were communicating with our vendors on a daily basis on the resources that they have available, things that they had in stock. Could we get them? Could we get a purchase order issued in time to claim the items that were in stock? But then we had the issue of placing orders, we would get our purchase order issued and then it would be cancelled because they would run out of stock before our order was placed. But there were a lot of times where we kept trying and trying and trying until we got what we needed.”
Well, Jalynda, I want to personally thank you and your staff that worked so diligently throughout the quarantine. You guys were here working every day to make sure that we had everything that we needed in order to return to campus safely. Thank you so much for what you have done.
“You’re welcome. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been fun.”
Life is a little different here on campus at OSUIT but we’re seeing students coming back, we’re seeing enrollment strong right now. We want to encourage everyone to continue to look to OSUIT for your training needs. I hope that you’ll be watching for future videos as I tell you more about the behind the scenes stories of how we’ve been coping with COVID-19.